When Barack Obama arrogantly dismissed questions yesterday about his possible nomination of Susan Rice for Secretary of State, he evoked memories of another young, arrogant politician who once dared the press to go after him personally.
Obama was asked by Jonathan Karl of ABC News:
Senator John McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham both said today that they want to have Watergate-style hearings on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and said that if you nominate Susan Rice to be secretary of state, they will do everything in their power to block her nomination. As Senator Graham said, he simply doesn't trust Ambassador Rice after what she said about Benghazi. I'd like your reaction to that. And would those threats deter you from making a nomination like that?
From his perch on the mountaintop Obama responded:
Well, first of all, I'm not going to comment at this point on various nominations that I'll put forward to fill out my Cabinet for the second term. Those are things that are still being discussed.
But let me say specifically about Susan Rice, she has done exemplary work. She has represented the United States and our interests in the United Nations with skill and professionalism and toughness and grace. As I've said before, she made an appearance at the request of the White House in which she gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her. If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. And I'm happy to have that discussion with them.
Yeah? Testify before Congress, O Fearless One, who has hidden behind Hillary Clinton’s skirts, hidden behind General Petraeus’s armor, and sent Rice out to the Sunday talk shows to promote an out-and-out lie.
But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador, who had nothing to do with Benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received and to besmirch her reputation is outrageous.
No, what’s outrageous is the cover-up you have perpetrated on the American people.
And you know, we're after an election now. I think it is important for us to find out exactly what happened in Benghazi, and I'm happy to cooperate in any ways that Congress wants. We have provided every bit of information that we have, and we will continue to provide information. And we've got a full-blown investigation, and all that information will be disgorged to Congress.
And I don't think there's any debate in this country that when you have four Americans killed, that's a problem. And we've got to get to the bottom of it, and there needs to be accountability. We've got to bring those who carried it out to justice. They won't get any debate from me on that.
But when they go after the U.N. ambassador, apparently because they think she's an easy target, then they've got a problem with me. And should I choose -- if I think that she would be the best person to serve America in the capacity -- the State Department, then I will nominate her. That's not a determination that I've made yet.
Twenty-five years ago, another Democrat politician arrogantly dared the press to come after him when he was accused of improper behavior. Even the New York Times judged him harshly:
A candidate's private morality may or may not be fair grounds for judging fitness for office, but a candidate's judgment is surely fair game. What is known so far about Gary Hart's actions last weekend suggests a remarkable lack of judgment and insensitivity to appearances of impropriety.
Mr. Hart, the Democratic front-runner, who announced his candidacy on April 13, has been dogged by rumors, this year as in 1984, that he is a ''womanizer.'' He has denied the rumors repeatedly. Indeed, in a New York Times Magazine article last Sunday he challenged the press: ''Follow me around. I don't care. I'm serious. If anybody wants to put a tail on me, go ahead. They'd be very bored.''
We all know how that story ended. Hart’s hubris ultimately caught up with him. A “remarkable lack of judgment and impropriety” caught up with him.
Obama has gone much farther than that, lying to the American people, stonewalling on information, and throwing Cabinet members under the bus one after another.
To John McCain and assorted Republicans who will not bend or break in pursuit of the truth, Godspeed.